A new $100-million provincial fund fulfills a promise the Ontario Liberals made more than a year ago, says Mayor Marianne Matichuk.
In an Aug. 25 release, she thanked the province for delivering on the promise. The province announced the new Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund at last week's Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) in London.
“Ontario is providing small, rural and northern municipalities with stable, annual funding to build and repair critical infrastructure and help to create jobs across the province,” Mayor Matichuk said. "A year ago, Premier Wynne and key ministers promised an open dialogue with Northern Mayors. Sustainable infrastructure funding is one of the key things we asked for.”
The new fund provides $100 million per year for critical road, bridge, water and wastewater projects.
Of the total, $50 million will be allocated annually using a formula the province said recognizes the individual needs of municipalities.
To be eligible for the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund, municipalities must have a population of less than 100,000 as of the 2011 census or be located in northern or rural Ontario.
The remaining $50 million will flow through an application-based process, allowing municipalities to continue partnering with the province to invest in critical infrastructure projects.
In 2013, AMO recommended a formula-based approach to dealing with municipal infrastructure funding.
The fund is critical to help municipalities — which own more property than any other order of government — ensure infrastructure is kept in good working order, said Russ Powers, the president of AMO, in a news release.
"(And) much of it needs to be repaired or replaced," Powers said. "Municipalities can't do it alone. Funding should be permanent, predictable and stable. The new ... fund appears to meet those needs."
AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario's 444 municipal governments.